Gender education for teenagers in multicultural contexts

⌚︎ 3 min.


Case study

Gender education for teenagers in multicultural contexts

Kind of education

Secondary education (vocational training).

Definition of the learner

A 15-year-old Gypsy student in a vocational training course.

Description of the group

Group of students from 12 to 16.  

Definition of starting situation

Abigáil is a 15-year-old Gypsy student, who attends the first level of basic vocational training. She goes to school only because of the legal obligation that exists until the age of 16. Despite being very intelligent and with an enormous interest in literature, she is very clear that when she turns 16, she will stop studying.

She has a boyfriend who lives in the same neighbourhood but she only sees him secretly because if someone sees them together, as traditions dictate in their families, they must marry. When she marries, she will depend on the family of the groom, and from that time, it will not be well considered that she continues studying.

With a profound capacity for critical analysis of her reality, she assumes with resignation that she must choose between forming a family or continuing her studies in order to develop a professional future that might give her independence and freedom (an alternative that does not end up being fully accepted in the gypsy context, in the case of women). For the moment she has definitely decided that she will opt for the first option with all the consequences.

Like most students, Abigail follows the footsteps of the referents she knows (women in her family or nearby circles, none of whom have had the opportunity to continue studying). Despite her great conviction of the decision, she is aware of the unfairness of the situation since, for example, boys of her age have the opportunity to choose more freely to continue studying or not (although it is not something too common in the context of the Gypsies).

Her school teacher feels powerless because she does not know how to handle this situation, and she has the feeling that she cannot do anything to give more opportunities for the future of Abigáil.

Description of the course

Basic vocational training.

Description of teaching team

Secondary school teaching team.

Possible actions and impacts

The trainer organises an activity with the whole group of students in which each student presents herself or himself showing their expectations about the future (profession, context, life...).

The group empathizes with their colleagues and they get to know each other since maybe some of the situations are unknown to them. They also become aware of the diversity that exists in the same group.

Each student draws the line of their life from their past (when they were born and how they grew up...) up to the present. In this part they have to mark the most important events in their lives, that have allowed them to be who they are now. The line of life has to continue towards the future, and every student has to write down how they see themselves in the future, what do they wish to achieve, etc.

Individually the student focuses its attention to her or his life, so that reflects about the potential possible ways and choices  he or she has.

An external testimony of a person who has chosen a different path is presented to the group (if it is not possible to invite a Roma girl, the teacher can present her case). This person explains her situation where her line of life was completely different some years ago in comparison to what it is today. She didn’t have any expectations about her future, and little by little she has achieved many things she would never have expected.

The group realizes that sometimes the expectations we have about the future of a person depend on her or his context, cultural origin, or gender. They discover that other ways of life are possible even when traditions are so strong that they block a girl's decision because of her social and cultural roots.

The whole group comments on the testimonial and express the expectation they had about the person before getting to know her/his story (only knowing her/his context). A debate about gender stereotypes is started (and about how to overcome them) and finally conclusions are reached.

Students give their opinion about the situation reflecting about it, confronting the case of their colleague with the case of the Roma woman, and arriving to a conclusion. Different opinions are confronted and stereotypes are rejected. The debate will be richer if different cases (students from different cultures and origins) are presented.

The tutor presents the following question to the group: do we have different expectations about people depending on their origin, culture, or gender?

Interesting conclusions would ideally arise from getting to know each other better and having reflected about a success case or example presented.

Advice, remarks, conclusions

In this case study the educator deals with the problem of organizing an awareness session in which:

  • students become aware of the situation.
  • an external person who has lived something similar comes to school to give a talk to the group.
  • a debate is developed so that they find solutions to the situation.

The approximate length of the session would be two hours.

The organiser is responsible for finding a person with a testimony (e.g. somebody who can come to the school and tell their story to the students). It does not necessarily have to be a Roma woman, it may be any other kind of equivalent case.

We were inspired by 50 mujeres gitanas.

Empowerment of women
Freedom of choice
Access to education
Intercultural Education
Gender discrimination